Imposter syndrome is when you convince yourself that your successes in life are the result of some weird trick of fate rather than any skill you may have honed or intelligence you may have inherited. It’s when you spend an unreasonable amount of time waiting for people to figure out that you’re really a no-talent hack.
This is a struggle I’m all too familiar with, and if you’re anything at all like me, you’ve probably felt it too.
Here’s the real problem with imposter syndrome:
Not even a steady flow of evidence of your abilities can counter your brain’s argument that you’re really a low-down, dirty scammer. Even if other people assure you that you’re cool, smart, pretty, talented, fast, funny, et al., it only agitates the feeling that you’re pulling the wool over their poor, innocent eyes. Sincere compliments make you feel worse about yourself, not better. Because: look at you pulling a con job on these sweet, doe-eyed folks, you shyster!
Imposter syndrome is not rational. You cannot combat it with reason, logic, or evidence.
So what’s a girl to do if imposter syndrome is exactly the thing holding her back?
Pull a con on your brain. That’s what.
You heard me.
If your brain is convinced that you’re rotten at everything in the world and that you’re nothing but a no good charlatan, quit fighting it. Use these trickster powers that your brain has attributed to you to dupe your gullible gray matter!
Here’s what I did.
I said, “Wow, brain. You are so right. I’ve convinced all of my clients that I’m a capable writer. I must be the best fraud in the world! If I’m this good at trickery, who knows what I could accomplish?”
My brain did not know how to respond. It really wasn’t prepared for this curveball.
So I used its confusion to start building my confidence on that one absurd idea: I must be really good at pretending to be something I’m not. Look at me over here, tricking all these shills into thinking I’m a writer.
Over time, my brain gave up. I was using its weakness against it! I’d outwitted my own thinker!
Just a teensy bit of confidence – even ill-placed confidence – may get you nervy enough to try new things (like writing novels and moving aboard sailboats) that scared you before. And if it requires a little innocent chicanery, well, your brain’s already accused you of it anyway. May as well enjoy yourself. 😉